Easter Messages of Hope for Methodist Employees During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Published: April 9, 2020
You are appreciated.
Your work doesn’t go unnoticed.
You are a blessing to many.
These are just some of the messages that have recently appeared on the cars of Methodist Hospital employees.
The messengers? Two certified nursing assistants who signed up for the Methodist Labor Pool – an organized COVID-19 response effort. They have yet to be called for duty.
Ashlee Whelan, CNA, and Betty Cloyed, CNA, are friends and coworkers. They work together in preoperative and post-anesthesia care at Methodist Hospital, where elective procedures are being deferred as a precaution during the COVID-19 pandemic. The same is true at many hospitals across the country.
With more downtime, she felt like she needed to do something meaningful. Especially after she “lost it” during a recent grocery run.
“It happened in the meat market at Walmart,” she said. “After a really tough workweek. I couldn’t help myself. I just broke down. The community doesn’t understand what’s going on – what these nurses and doctors do and the risk they take just by showing up for work.”
She recruited Whelan for her “simple” idea. Together, they spent four hours hand-painting 400 inspiring messages of hope and encouragement to leave on cars inside the Methodist Hospital employee parking garage.
“Honestly,” Whelan said, “I kind of wanted them to at first be like, ‘Are you kidding me? Did I get a ticket?!’ But then see it, laugh and be like, ‘Oh! OK!’”
She continued: “Who knows? Maybe they’re getting off of a really terrible shift. And maybe it’s the note that helps them end it with a smile.”
“Or maybe they, too, have a few meat market moments in the days ahead,” Cloyed added. “But then maybe they remember the note or see it in their car – a reminder that it’s OK.”
Whether the notes serve those purposes or not, “It’s what I needed to do. For myself,” Cloyed said.
The Meaning of Care, stronger than ever
Employees loving on employees is nothing new at Methodist, especially in the wake of this pandemic. In fact, chalk and window art have been popping up at several clinic locations and in various hospital departments.
Alessandra Marchitelli, a phlebotomist at Methodist Women's Hospital, created this masterpiece to remind everyone that so much good is happening amid so much bad.
“We don’t want anything out of this,” Whelan said. “We just want you to know that even though no one is probably telling you or physically giving you a hug, you are not alone! We are here.”
And in the days leading up to Easter, she and Cloyed hope their pastel watercolor messages serve as a promise: This isn’t forever. There is hope. And together, we’ll get through this.
Remember: If you’re struggling with feelings of fear, sadness, anxiety or depression, call the Methodist Emotional Support Line to speak with a licensed professional counselor from the Methodist Hospital Community Counseling Program. The free, confidential service can be accessed by dialing (402) 815-8255 (TALK) and is available daily from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Counselors can help by answering questions, addressing concerns, scheduling counseling appointments for additional care and providing referrals to community resources.